Now if you have been reading my blog since a long time, you might just remember the time I went on a 14 km trek to Lohagad Fort, back in September 2015.
It’s been almost a year since, with no major improvements in my fitness or stamina levels. And so, when a friend suggested we go to the Kanheri Caves, in Sanjay Gandhi National Park for a trek, the nightmares came rushing back and I refused. However, my super-fit friends convinced me to go along, saying this would be a far shorter and easier trek. And for the sake of friendship, I relented.
In hindsight, I should have stayed home, for the sake of my own, and everyone else’s sanity.
However, mistakes were made, and here’s how the trek was:
I am woken up by my mother screaming to wake up or she’ll pour a glass of cold water on my head.
I am still sitting on my bed, unwilling to leave the comfort of my blankets on what looks to be a cold, rainy, dull day.
After showering in record time, downing a cup of coffee to wake up the senses, I am ready to leave. Only, I can’t find my shoes.
I have managed to wake up the entire household in the search for my only pair of shoes, and am running the risk of missing the only train that I may manage to get into.
Shoes found. I race to the station, laces untied, warm-up for the trek done, and the train is late.
I reach Borivali with my friend. The other guys are late. I am ready to take a power nap right there. The coffee has proved ineffective.
Everyone has arrived. At this point, let me just say we are eight people. Five over-enthusiastic and energetic guys and three already tired girls. One of the guys has a brilliant suggestion to walk till the National Park itself, since a 12 km trek is too less for them. Grudgingly, we agree (we as in the girls. All the guys are more than happy to walk another 3 km).
We reach the national park amidst a mild downpour of rain, and a more serious downpour of curses in my head. It turns out the ticketing system is not working and so we need to wait. So far, it’s been 2 hours and I’ve spent almost half of it waiting. If this is not a perfect description of how India works, I don’t know what is.
We have finally begun the trek. Which is just walking on a road, slightly inclined at times, for 12 km, but this is trek enough for me. One of the guys spies a lane, off-road, and suggests we take that route, claiming it will be a shorter one.
The route does not seem to be shorter. We see many deer however, and I am contemplating whether deer can be raised as pets. They are adorable. We have arrived amidst a settlement and people are telling us it is the wrong path. We still go ahead because we fancy ourselves as explorers.
We have reached a dead end.
We are now going back. I am ready to murder people for their insane suggestions of shorter routes. We reach the point where we started out, and we decide to take a break. Again, the testosterone-fueled humans decide to go swing off rods in the park, while we girls sit and reconsider decisions of going on treks.
We start again, this time with no shortcuts, on a straight, cemented road.
Still walking on straight roads. The girls are already tired. I am thankful there are girls with me who tire just as easily. At least I am not the only one who appears weak now. The guys are, of course, marching on like 12 km treks are daily routine for them.
My life is now racing past my eyes in flashbacks. I regret not doing more with it. I ask my friend to send my body back home in case I collapse and die, a scenario which seems all too real now.
Still walking. The sun refuses to take a break. Whatever happened to all the clouds I saw in the morning? I got a raincoat AND an umbrella for no reason at all.
I see visions of my fast-approaching death. We have been walking for four hours, longer than I have ever walked in my entire life. The road goes uphill and straight, never downhill, with the result all three of us girls are now lagging behind the guys.
I have decided for my final year project, I will make a portable charger for humans. It is what I am in dire need of right now. There are no signs of the caves, and the guys are almost out of sight.
I see a bus approaching. Maybe I should go stand in front of it.
Finally. I see the caves ahead. Wait, are those steps?! Okay, I am just going to wait here while the remaining people go ahead.
I have been mercilessly coaxed up those imbecile steps. Us girls sit for some time, while the guys go ahead and explore the caves. I am now way past green with envy at the stamina they have.
We start the descent. We see a bus, which will take us back down, and we get in, thankfully. But, male egos at work again, suggestions arise that we walk another 12 km back down, and fellow male egos agree. They leave, we sit in the bus.
After waiting (that seems like my entire life now) for the guys to reach back down, we go finally, to eat lunch. At McDonald’s, to compensate for all the weight we might have lost.
I am home. Alive. I have discovered sore, aching muscles I never knew existed.
It was an eventful day, to say the least. It did manage to reinforce my belief as to why I should never go on treks. Although it may sound like quite a rant, I did have fun. We made jokes along the way, laughed at funny incidents, and I realized the reason I torture myself with these things even after knowing it won’t end well, is because it is fun to hang out with friends even when you’re dying and out of breath.
Until the next unholy trek rolls around,